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Free Tool: Replace NotePad with NotePad2

Like last month's free tool, this month's tool isn't really a .NET-specific tool. However, I can't program without NotePad (though it was a long time ago when I did the XML schemas for a major software developer's products and my primary tools were NotePad and Internet Explorer). At the very least I often find myself using NotePad whenever I want to look at some code from Windows Explorer and don't want to start up Visual Studio.

I've used a couple of NotePad replacements (TextPad for the longest time) but my current favorite is NotePad2 by Florian Balmer. I like that it's fast to start up and load a file while still doing everything Notepad does. But I also like that it does code highlighting, will generate autoclose tags for XML and HTML, has a recent files list, and will minimize to the tray (so it's ready for all the other things that I use it for). A tool like NotePad2 is always going to be a trade-off: I'm looking for a speedy tool but I also want lots of functionality. NotePad2 hits the sweet spot for me.

If you try it and like it, you can have NotePad2 replace NotePad with a tweak to the Windows registry. You can even have NotePad2 support Windows 7's jump list of recently accessed files with a few more tweaks (and did I mention that NotePad2 has a Favorites list where you can add files you return to repeatedly?). Scott Hanselman's blog at has links to descriptions of how to get NotePad2 to replace NotePad (including how to get NotePad2 to support Window 7's jump list of recently accessed files).

Posted by Peter Vogel on 03/28/2012 at 1:16 PM


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Reader Comments:

Thu, Mar 29, 2012 Peter Vogel Canada

I did try Notepad++ and I liked it. I didn't like it better than NotePad2--but that may have had more to do with having used NotePad2 first than anything else. I'm not going to claim that my preference reflects anything other than personal preference (that's different from my opinion on TextPad which, I think is more a powerful tool than either NotePad2 or NotePad++...but also has more overhead. NotePad2 and NotePad++ were closer to the sweet spot between fast startup and functionality that I'm looking for).

Thu, Mar 29, 2012 Joe PC, FL

have you tried Notepad++? How does this compare?

Thu, Mar 29, 2012 giammin italy

do you know notepad++?

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